Any good professional should know other people and professionals in their area of expertise. For Innovative Editing, that means interacting with other writers and editors, who incidentally make for great industry-related story swapping.
You might or might not appreciate the majority of those stories, but this one in particular easily transcends industries…
Looking for more business, an editor was recently counseled to contact a number of vanity publishing companies, asking them if they needed any outside or freelance editorial help.
That advice was kindly meant, but it didn’t pan out. Not one bit.
Now, admittedly, nobody likes cold callers. In fact, most of us hate them, telling them to go away, screaming at them to leave us alone, or hanging up on them the second we realize who they are and what they want. So I could kind of excuse these companies’ dismissive attitudes if our entrepreneurial editor came right out and said why she was calling.
Except that she didn’t. She was making pre-sales calls, simply scouting out whether the vanity publishing companies in question dealt with editing in the first place. Which meant that she should have come across as a potential client to these people.
As such, they should have been friendly. Welcoming. Cheerful. Maybe even a little enthusiastic!
Except that they weren’t. According to this editor, they were some of the most all-around dismissive sales associates she’d ever interacted with over the phone.
Here’s how the basic conversations went every single time:
Her [sounding friendly and curious]: Hi there! I was looking into the services you offer, and I wanted to know if you do any pre-printing editorial work for clients.
Them [using every single tonal quality possible to indicate that they’re bored of the call already and, in fact, were bored of the call before their phone even rang]: No. We don’t.
Her [still sounding friendly, even if she is a little taken aback by their bad attitude]: Oh, okay. Well, thank you very much for your time.
Them: Uh-huh. [hangs up the phone]
Her [to open air]: Ummm… How do you stay in business?
Now, again, these are vanity publishing companies we’re talking about. So they’re bad people in general. Rather like the stereotypical used car salesman, they want to make you think you’re getting a sweet ride when you’re really headed over the cliff – hundreds or thousands of dollars lighter.
Vanity publishers are the companies who charge writers a fee to become authors. Their publishing packages range anywhere from $495 to $10,000, promising naïve clients the world and very rarely delivering.
When they do deliver, it’s more of a fluke than anything else.
But apparently, the stereotypical used car salesman has a one-up on these people, since he’ll at least pretend like he cares about the customer in order to get a sale. The vanity publishers this editor contacted, however, apparently lack that transaction-geared charm.
Which is really foolish.
If you really want a great professional writing tip, then listen up: Don’t let your written copy come across like these over-the-phone personalities portrayed themselves. That kind of presentation is a great way to turn potential clients off. For good.
Customers, when they’re given the viable choice, will almost always go with the more friendly-sounding customer service. It doesn’t matter if that customer service is blatantly stated or implied; over the phone, in person, through the TV or written out.
You want your words to come across as engagingly as possible. Otherwise, there’s really no other professional writing tip I can give you that will do your business much good.